Over the past few weeks my schedule has felt a little hectic. Sometimes after a long day I just don’t feel like cooking, we all go through it. Picking up the phone to order takeout can be more appealing than having to worry about whipping up something for dinner. While its convenient, it not great on the wallet and in most cases it’s just one meal, you’re left trying to figure out what to have for dinner the following day. Making meals that can be frozen, easily heated up and are still delicious like this lentil loaf are always my go-to. Just open the fridge turn on the stove and dinner can be ready in less than 15 minutes.
We’ve all been there trying to juggle work, school, the gym, time with your friends or spouse, going home to cook a healthy meal is the last thing you want to add to the list. During these time we are dealing with more stress, we should be focused on nutrient dense foods, healthy fats, supporting our immune system, hormones and eating digestive loving foods. Setting aside just a little bit of time to prepare can set you up for success and ensure you have enough means to cover you for the week. This lentil loaf covers all your bases, it high in protein, healthy fats and fibre. If you need a little more support I launched my 21 Day Crunch Time Meal Plan it comes with full grocery lists, tips for meal prepping and all the recipes you’ll need for 21 days.
I love cooking with lentils, they are versatile, affordable and nutrient dense, you could also say it’s my Middle Eastern background. Lentils are an amazing source of plant based protein, one cups of lentils have a whopping 18 grams of protein and 15 grams of fibre. Lentils are brimming with B vitamins, folate, B 6 and B 5 all needed to support our adrenals during times of stress, along with manganese (anti-inflammatory, zinc (Immune system) and iron (keeps your energy levels up) .
- 1 cup – green or brown lentils
- 3 cups – low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 TSP avocado oil
- 1 – small yellow onion, diced
- 8 oz – cremini mushrooms, diced
- 2 – cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup – rolled oats
- 2 – large free-range eggs
- 2 TBSP – unsalted tomato paste
- 1/2 TSP – allspice
- 1 TSP – ground cumin
- 1/2 TSP – coriander
- 1/2 TSP – cinnamon
- 1/2 TSP – cayenne pepper
- 1/2 TSP – salt
- 1 cup – grated carrot
- 1 cup – chopped walnuts, toasted
- 3/4 cup – dried apricots, chopped
- 3 TBSP – mint leaves, finely chopped
- For Tomato Sauce:
- 1/2 cup – tomato paste
- 2 TBSP – balsamic vinegar
- 1 TBSP – honey
- 1/2 TSP – cumin
- 1/2 TSP – ground allspice
- 1/2 TSP – ground coriander
- 1/4 TSP – salt
- 1/8 TSP – cayenne
- Rinse lentils and then combine them with vegetable broth in medium-sized saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until tender. Drain any excess liquid and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C) and grease 9 x 5 in (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan
- Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic; heat until mushrooms have softened.
- Place oats in food processor container and pulverize into coarse powder. Blend in 2 cups (500 mL) cooked lentils, eggs, tomato paste, and all the spices into a coarse mixture. Place in large bowl and stir in remaining lentils, onion mixture, carrot, walnuts, dried apricots, and mushrooms. Place mixture in loaf pan and press down firmly into an even layer.
- Top with tomato sauce and bake for 40 minutes, or until set in the middle and darkened around the edges. Let cool for several minutes before slicing.
To make it vegan, replace eggs with 2 Tbsp (30 mL) ground flax or ground chia mixed with 6 Tbsp (90 mL) water. Let mixture stand for 15 minutes before mixing into loaf batter.
This article previously appeared on www.memorymorsels.org.